Gov. Mike Beebe sung the state's praises for conservative budgeting in his weekly radio address.
The state of Arkansas ended its fiscal year on June 30 with a roughly $145 million budget surplus.
Beebe has said in the past that Arkansas was one of 4 states to balance its budget during the recession. In his address Friday (July 13), Beebe noted that last year 8 states had a balanced budget and this year the number has risen to 19.
He also touted a recent AA1 bond rating the state received from Moody's Investor Services.
“In its analysis, Moody's cited several good aspects of our state and its economic climate. Among Moody's supporting points were our debt load and unemployment rate, both of which are lower than many other states,” Beebe said.
“Moody's also pointed out Arkansas's track record of healthy year-end fund balances, which we even recorded during the recession and the lackluster economic recovery,” Beebe added.
As he has said since the state's yea
r-end, Beebe said upcoming obligations with an expected Medicaid budget shortfall would be a priority for the surplus.
“Already, discussion has begun about what we might do with the surplus. As this discourse continues, we must be mindful of the way we accomplished this enviable financial position in the first place,” said Beebe. “There are also upcoming obligations to consider in order to avoid the more dire budgetary situations other states face. We already know that we will have to address a projected shortfall in Medicaid funding that could range from $250 million to $400 million. We know that while we have seen a return of growth to our state, the global economy, which affects us all, remains on shaky ground.”
He added, “Our measured approach to budgetary management has steered Arkansas through the worst of the recession and now has us on a positive course. By holding to this course, we can continue building an economic climate that encourages investment, confidence and good credit for Arkansas.”